Lot 714
  • 714

A banded agate hardstone salt and cover with silver-gilt mounts, probably German, early 16th century

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Silver, Hardstone
  • 14.5cm., 5 3/4 in. high
The stone carved with spiral gadroons on the body and detachable cover, and with facets on the foot and finial, cagework Gothic foliate mounts on plain grounds with escalloped rims, underside of foot with numbered panels


Baron Guy de Rothchild (1909-2007), Chateau Ferrières, Sotheby's Monaco, Meubles et Objets D’art provenant de L’Hotel Lambert et du Château de Ferrières, 25-26 May 1975, lot 154
Norwegian private collector


Hugh Tait, Catalogue of the Waddesdon Bequest in the British Museum,  London, 1991, no. 14

Associated literature:
Jørgen Hein, The Treasure Collection at Rosenborg Castle II, Copenhagen, 2009,  no. 516
Daniel Alcouffe, Les Gemmes de la Couronne, Paris, 2001, no. 45

Catalogue Note

An agate salt with similar spiral gadroons at its cover and body and with facets at the stem and foot, believed to be carved around 1400-1500, (15cm. high, Danish Royal collection, Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen), is first recorded in the Gottorp treasury in 1694. It has gold and enamel German mounts of circa 1625, which include a finial in a similar form to the stone finial on the present salt. Other stone examples combining spiral gadroons and facets would include a pair of jasper salts in the Estense Gallery, Modena (11.5cm high) and an agate example in the Louvre (10cm high) which entered the collection of Louis XIV between 1681-84. The French king had two other small rock crystal salts with spiral gadrooned bodies and facetted bases (Alcouf p. 145). The Louvre agate example has a separate gold foot, while the Modena salts like the present example, have faceted stone bases with precious metal mounts; these sit on additional metal bases supported by feet in the form of lions. The numbered pins and numbered panels on the base mount of the present salt may indicate that the item, at one time may also have had additional elements fitted underneath.